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Female Activists

Women from around the world that are making a difference by addressing human rights issues that they are passionate about. Some using fame or notoriety to bring attention to these issues and others who have personally suffered the consequences of human rights violations and have chosen to speak out against their perpetraitors, raise awareness and funds to assist other victims.

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Deeyahs honor based violence awareness campaign

The Honour Based Violence Awareness Network is an international digital resource centre working to advance understanding and awareness of honour killings and honour-based violence through research, documentation and information for professionals; teachers, health workers, social services, police, politicians, and others who may encounter individuals at risk. HBVA builds and promotes a network of experts, activists, and NGOs from around the world, establishing international partnerships to facilitate greater collaboration and education. Norwegian artist and human rights activist Deeyah, a vocal and staunch campaigner against honour based violence, founded and conceived of HBVA in collaboration with Joanne Payton of Cardiff University.
As Deeyah has stated - "Centuries old cultures, customs, social structures and mentalities take time and consistent effort to change. However, where we can make a real and immediate impact particularly in Europe and in the US, where deaths can be prevented is by implementing adequate training, providing research and properly informing the people in a position to help individuals at risk of Honour Based Violence. There is no acceptable reason or excuse why young women within minority communities should continue dying due to lack of understanding and awareness about this very present phenomenon"
In development since 2010, HBVA was launched in February 2012 for public and professional use internationally. See more on their website at www.hbv-awareness.com

Female activists who are making a difference

Ayaan Hirsi Ali Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali born feminist and atheist activist, writer and politician who is known for her critical assessment of Islam and its practices of circumcision and female genital cutting. She immigrated to the Netherlands to escape an arranged marraige and later immigrated to the United States amidst death threats over her being critical of Islam. Following a citizenship controversy in the Netherlands Hirsi Ali took up a position at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington D.C. Her autobiography, Infidel, was published in September 2006... Read more

Christy Turlington Christy Turlington is a supermodel, film-maker, and womens acitivist and advocate who founded Every Mother Counts, an advocacy and mobilization campaign to increase education and support for maternal mortality reduction globally. She appeared in the documentary Unzipped about fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, as well in the fashion spoof film Prêt-à-Porter by director Robert Altman. Additionally, she was featured in Catwalk, a documentary about her life walking runways for fashion designers by director Robert Leacock.... Read more

Liya Kebede Liya Kebede founded the Liya Kebede Foundation to support community-based projects which improve knowledge and practices of maternal and child health in order to reduce illness and deaths. The aim of the Liya Kebede Foundation is to involve the public and advocate for policy makers and governments to invest in mothers' lives. Liya is inspired by the women she meets providing critical health care needs on the ground in the developing world. She meets countless women who work tirelessly, without basic supplies and in terribly difficult conditions... Read more

Cynthia Basinet Cynthia Basinet recorded the song Santa Baby as a Christmas gift for Jack Nicholson and when it went viral on the internet everyone credited it to Marilyn Monroe. This Nobel Peace Prize nominated Jazz and Blues singer continues recording and acting while using her music to raise awareness for humanitarian projects. In May and June of 2001 during a trip to the refugee camps in the Western Sahara, the most memorable and defining moment for Cynthia was singing Someone To Watch Over Me in the Saharwian refugee camps... Read more

>Lina Ben MhenniTunisian blogger and activist Lina Ben Mhenni, born May 22, 1983, was nominated by the 2011 Nobel Prize committee for her sustained activism by showing scenes of repression and violence that took place between the former regime and protestors, particularly in Regueb and Sidi Bouzid. Her strong criticism of the social and political conditions in Tunisia and the posting of these scenes of oppression and violence on her blog in Arabic, French and English brought the truth of this violent regime to the attention of the world. ... Read more

DeeyahDeeyah was born on August 7th 1977 in Oslo, Norway to Sunni Muslim parents of Pakistani and Afghani heritage. A Norwegian singer, music producer, composer, film maker and human rights activist, Deeyah is a woman and a Muslim which is not always an easy combination for someone with tremendous talent and looks that would easily bring her fame and fortune. But, fortune was not what came her way when she launched a musical career and began to get media attention. Instead she recieved death threats from Muslim fundamentalists... Read more

Panmela Castro Panmela Castro was the recipient of the 2010 Vital Voices Global Leadership Award for Human Rights for her work as a graffiti artist who took her talent to the Rio de Janeiro slums and painted murals to educate women about new Brazilian laws protecting the rights of domestic violence victims. Panmela Castro is the founder and and art coordinator of Panmela Artefeito , an organization using social art projects as an instrument of cultural transformation and continues to to use graffiti for other womans rights projects... Read more

Nazanin Afshin-Jam Nazanin Afshin-Jam is a Persian human rights activist, public speaker as well as President and Co-Founder of Stop Child Executions currently living in Canada. She is fluent in Persian, English and French and was voted one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World as well as one of the 100 most talented girls for 2010. Nazanin is also a talented singer, songwriter, model, actress, pilot, former Miss World Canada and Miss World 1st runner-up.... Read more

Tristane Banon Tristane Banon is a French journalist and writer who earned a diploma from the Ecole Supérieure de Journalisme de Paris and worked as a journalist, as an anchorwoman on a television show about new information and communication technologies and as a sports journalist. Everything changed when she came forward to accuse Dominique Strauss-Kahn of attempted rape after the once French Socialist Party presidential candidate in waiting, was arrested and accused of the sexual assault and attempted rape of a New York hotel maid in May of 2011... Read more

Somaly Mam Somaly Mam was born into a tribal minority family in the Mondulkiri Province of Cambodia around the same time the Khmer Rouge savagely took hold of the nation. Somaly was only 12 years old when a man posing as her grandfather sold her into sexual slavery forcing her to work in a brothel alongside other children. Somaly was brutally tortured and raped several times a day, week after week, month after month, for years. She was even forced to watch her best friend be viciously murdered.... Read more

Waris Dirie Waris Dirie is a Somali model, author, actress and human rights activist that was born into a nomadic clan in Galkacyo, Somalia in 1965. Living in the Somali desert near the border with Ethiopia at the tender age of five, she was forced to undergo the inhumane procedure of female genital mutilation. After a highly successful modeling career she became the UN Ambassador for the Abolition of Female Genital Mutilation and authored her first book called Desert Flower, an autobiography that went on to become an international bestseller... Read more

Sabatina James Sabatina James lived through an extremely painful and difficultordeal in escaping from becoming a victim of an honor killing by her own family when she refused to be forced into an arranged marraige contrived by her parents. Now Sabatina is an author and the founder of an organization that assists other victims of forced marraige and its often accompanying family violence. read more

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